In a move that is generating much controversy among city’s private schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular on Thursday essentially deciding that private unaided schools affiliated to the Board will no longer be able to appoint a principal or head of school on their own, and that the Board will monitor the appointment. Private school teachers who want to become principals will also have to qualify a Principal Eligibility Test (PET) conducted by the Board.
The decision has not gone down well with schools who are viewing it as an encroachment of autonomy. Appointment of school principals is usually done by a four-member committee in private schools. In Delhi, this is clearly dictated by the Delhi School Education Act and Rules 1973.
Previously, the Committee making the decision consisted of the Chairman/President of the School Society, Chairman of the Managing Committee of the school, a member with experience in school administration and an educationist nominated by the managing committee.
As per the rules, it will now be mandatory for schools to include a CBSE nominee and a state government nominee in the selection committee, taking the tally from current four to five members. Additionally, the member with experience in school administration who until now was being nominated by the school’s’ management committee will now be nominated by the Chairperson of CBSE.
This essentially means that at least two of the five members of the panel will be appointed directly by, or with the approval of CBSE. With one state government representative, the decision could mean government representatives outnumbering school representatives 3:2 in schools’ selection committee in cases.
“It is essential that private schools get autonomy in running their own institutions. As a private institution, it is within our rights to appoint teachers and staff we deem fit for the school, including the head of school.The necessary qualifications to be eligible to become a principal are already stated in the Delhi School Education Rules and a Directorate representative on the selection committee. All the riders are already in place. There is no rationale behind this decision,” said Ameeta Mulla Wattal, Principal, Springdales Pusa Road and ex-Chairman of the National Progressive Schools’ Conference (NSSC), an umbrella body of over 300 private schools in the city.
Schools are also questioning the validity of CBSE that is mainly an examination body turning into a monitoring body or managing and governing body. “It’s an attempt to get more control over educational institutions. We are witnessing this a lot recently. India is a democratic country. You can have monitoring methods, but placing people in committees to wean the authority of those who created the school is just not acceptable,” principal of a leading private school told YKA, wishing to remain anonymous.
School bodies are planning to hold a meeting to discuss the issue and formulate a formal course of action over the course of the next few days, Ashok Pandey, Chairman, NPSC, told YKA.